Fairy Fencer F review for PS3

Platform: PS3
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Compile Heart
Medium: Blu-ray/Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Japanese Role Playing Games or JRPGs seem to be hit or miss when they are brought overseas. Sometimes they are welcomed with open arms and gain large followings of fans, while others are either completely ignored, or only played by a small fan club. Fairy Fencer F has a unique style that, for many reasons, may alienate some players while attracting others at the same time.

The story revolves around a character named Fang — a completely unlikeable idiot that only cares about himself. While traveling around looking for food, he accepts a challenge to try and remove an ancient sword from a stone. With unbelievable luck, he manages to remove the sword and awakens a fairy named Eryn, whose mission is to find a collection of weapons that can revive a fairy god. Fang wants no part of Eryn and makes several attempts to ditch her, but since he is the one who pulled up the sword, they are bonded together until the mission is complete. It takes Fang a while to finally agree to help Eryn collect the weapons, but when he finally does, the game actually begins. The banter between the characters and tutorials take a very long time to complete as you endlessly scroll through dialog and text screens, but once you get through that you get control of the characters and can actually go questing.

Fairy Fencer F 2

When you gain control, players of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series will get a feeling of deja vu, with almost everything from graphics and even map screens resembling or even copied from that game. For the first few moments of actual gameplay, everything looks and plays like the last Neptunia title, right down to how you enter battles and interact with objects.

Gameplay consists of getting through pre selected areas with minimal to no exploration of any kind, just getting from point A to point B, fighting the monsters that are roaming around the map. Sometimes reaching an area may trigger an event where you interact with another character or advance the story. Some of the maps presented offer multiple paths, but ultimately lead to the same goal. You will meet different characters that all seem to be on the same mission as Fang and Eryn. Some will help you, while others with fight you. A few characters may even join your party and help you in battles. The battle system is also reminiscent of Hyperdimension Neptunia, but if you have a companion in your party, you can tag in a fresh fighter if your current fighter is getting weak, giving you an advantage in a difficult battle.  Some of the magic attacks you can use trigger some nice animations that are fun to watch for the first few uses, but do get tiring to watch the more you see them. Sometimes, if your power meter gets full, you can combine with Eryn and transform into an armored warrior that looks like it was taken from a Japanese Masked Rider TV show, complete with transformation sequence that seems to take a bit too long to complete.

Fairy Fencer F 1

With all games of this type, fighting more battles will level up your character, increasing your attack power and unlocking new magic attacks. Occasionally you will find towns where you can pick up healing items or more armor to protect you and your party members. While in towns, you don?t have free control of your characters, but rather select where you want to go in town or who you want to talk to. Some people you interact with will waste your time while others will give you a hint as to where your next mission is.

The graphics are your typical Anime style visuals. Everyone seems to wear clothing that, if worn in real life, would offer no protection or be very comfortable to wear. The actual play fields aren?t very detailed and are surrounded by invisible walls that your character cannot pass. The animations of the player character and the roaming monsters also seem stiff and look like an early PS3 title. The battle sequence animations are slightly better, but still looks stiff and awkward. Sound wise, the music tracks seem to fit every situation ranging from happy adventuring tunes to serious tracks that set up important battles or events. The small amount of voice work included is all done very well with some veteran voice actors like Kyle Herbert providing some fitting dialog.

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The final question is, should you get Fairy Fencer F? The answer depends on a few things. If you are a fan of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series then this one is a no brainer since it resembles that game almost completely. If you don?t mind large amounts of text screens and tutorials that hold your hand throughout the first half of the game, you may enjoy playing through this one. I cannot however recommend FFF if you are a fan of more traditional RPGs where you have complete control of your characters and enjoy exploring, since not much of either is offered here. It?s not bad by any means, just not as interactive or engaging as other JRPGs available.

Grade: B-